Love your scar tissue like you love your scars
Many people have scars they are proud of, that tell a story. They delight when you ask them about their favourite scar, a battle wound, or perhaps something funny that happened a long time ago. Scars are a memory imprinted on your skin. The difference between a scar and scar tissue within a previously injured joint is that the latter usually doesn’t cause pain or dysfunction.
I can easily recognize and empathize with clients of mine who are angry at a body part that is causing them pain or causing them to be unable to do something important to them. It is easy and normal to feel like your body is revolting against you, being disobedient when we have pain and are forced to rest or change our activities. I called my Left foot for several years, “My Evil Foot,” until I realized how incredibly unproductive this was in the journey of getting myself out of pain. It took a Naturopath colleague of mine to point this out. She told me to love my foot, nurture it, be grateful for all it has done to serve me. This was a pivotal moment for me.
When I recognize this type of thought pattern in my clients, I ask them if they are angry at their painful body part. I challenge them to reframe, and on their drive, walk, bike home or back to work from the clinic, reflect on all of the experiences their body has afforded them. I ask them to think of all of the thrilling, beautiful, or ecstatic moments, and amazing places their body has enabled them to experience. I ask that they try to replace their thoughts of feeling deceived by their body with memories of key moments in their lives that their body has graced them with. I try to help them see that the cumulative use of their body in all of these beautiful ways has contributed to why they have ended up in pain and in my office. I have found this to be very helpful for myself and my clients. It is often a turning point in their rehab. It usually takes me a couple of sessions getting to know the client to have the rapport to have this conversation.
Injuries or painful body parts are like a constellation of stories, memories held in our anatomy, physiology, and our nervous system. Our bodies have gifted us with all of our most poignant experiences. Consider challenging yourself to reframe this way around your own issues with your body, and practitioners, please extend this invitation to your clients.